Dr. Bill Atwood

Want a better choice for president in 2020? Try getting involved now

Sierra Star columnist Dr. Bill Atwood considers the great U.S. presidents who have occupied the Oval Office and then laments the choices we have in 2020. But, he says, we as voters can do something about it.
Sierra Star columnist Dr. Bill Atwood considers the great U.S. presidents who have occupied the Oval Office and then laments the choices we have in 2020. But, he says, we as voters can do something about it. Architectural Digest/Associated Press file

We are a country of slightly more than 320 million. Most of us are honest, hard-working people who take pride in supporting ourselves and families. We finished school, stay out of trouble with the law, earn enough to pay the bills and we try to be good neighbors. The people who know us figure we are worth knowing and we are generally trusted. Our employers figure we are reliable and worth our salaries. So my question is simple. Out of 320 million Americans why is it that we get such poor choices from which to select the president of the United States?

Just contemplate who has sat in the Oval Office. Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln, Truman, two Roosevelts, and many other greats. Right now it appears that we have to select from a bully, a man who thinks he is Hispanic but is a wealthy privileged white man who acts like a middle-schooler riding a skateboard, a wealthy socialist, a white woman who tells us she is a Native American without a tribe, a groper of women and children who still doesn’t understand how revolting his behavior happens to be, a man who sees himself as Spartacus, as well as another dozen who have delusions of sitting behind the desk in the White House.

It is our fault. We accept their nonsense and justify the fool’s behavior. I remember a friend justifying Bill Clinton’s sexual nonsense by telling me, “He is a louse, but he is our louse.”

To be sure; people who get elected are not saints and we really can’t expect them to be because they are human. We should expect them to act in an exceptional manner. Some of our presidents have been louses. Harding was shameful, Carter was well-intended but clueless. Franklin Pierce was dashing in his looks and sadly lacking in talent, Nixon was a liar and a crook, and Hoover was too smart for his own good.

Many Democrats are calling for the end of the Electoral College because they don’t like how the system designed by some really intelligent folks works. Hillary Clinton lost because people had more faith in Trump than her. Sadly for them and really sadly for all of us the problem with the last election wasn’t the process, the problem was the choice of candidates. We had a choice between two people who were able to outlast or outsmart a number of other candidates. Again: It is our fault.

We have become an electorate that pounces on any misstep. We want apologies for errors but crucify anyone after they offer one. We have created a political environment that scares away really talented people who could solve our problems, protect our tax dollars, represent us to other countries, and who will look for solutions rather than how to score political points.

The party of the working man has turned into a Socialist Party. The Republicans have accepted a man to lead them that they wouldn’t want to have in their homes for dinner. They settled for Trump and his antics because they saw how a senator who had been a prisoner of war was treated. They saw how a straightlaced religious man was treated. The GOP simply got into the mud to win the White House.

It scares me to think that our choices in 2020 will be slim. As voters we can affect a change by reading up on the issues, and then going to the trouble of asking questions when the scoundrels are in our area. Pogo said it best, “We have met the enemy and they are us.”

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